No-Shows Tell Tale of Sabres Season

April 23, 2013 Updated Apr 23, 2013 at 6:48 AM EDT

By James Fink, Business First

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No-Shows Tell Tale of Sabres Season

April 23, 2013 Updated Apr 23, 2013 at 6:48 AM EDT

It’s not the growing number of empty blue seats in First Niagara Center that serve as a telltale sign of the disappointing Buffalo Sabres’ season.

All one has to do is look at the online asking price of tickets for the team’s final, regular season game — Friday night against the New York Islanders. In some cases, including StubHub, tickets can be had for as little as $19 and not just upper-level 300 section seats. It was 100 level seats that have a ticket window price of $66.

And, for scalpers, it’s even worse.

Calvin Johnson, a veteran scalper, said business this season - or, for at least the last month, has been “... expletive.”

“I can’t even giveaway tickets tonight,” he said while standing at the sun-drenched corner of Washington and Scott streets less than one hour before the Sabres-Winnipeg Jets face-off.

The Sabres lost their penultimate regular season home game, 2-1, before an “announced” crowd of 18,654, although there were large sections of empty seats through-out the arena.

“I need more Bon Jovi and (Bob) Seger concerts,” Johnson said.

Johnson thought the prospect of a Canadian-based team, Winnipeg, might drive some business his way.

But, it didn’t turn out that way.

He had a healthy stack of tickets and few, if any buyers.

“What are you going do?,” Johnson said. “They’ll be back. And, so will I.”